Richard Coyle was born and raised in Sheffield, in the UK with his four brothers. He began his career when, studying politics and philosophy at York University (1992–1995), he got interested in amateur dramatics and traveled to the Edinburgh festival twice.
A decision to raise funds to study at the prestigious Bristol Old Vic Theatre School resulted in an extra's job on a new film adaptation of the classic novel Jane Eyre. When director Franco Zeffirelli heard Richard was about to start drama school he gave him a line, his first on screen: "Mr. Rochester, Mr. Rochester, your house sir!"
He then took a number of small roles in television and film before landing a larger role in the 1998 ITV drama The Life and Crimes of William Palmer: Episode #1.1 (1998) and a super cameo turn in Justin Kerrigan's Human Traffic (1999) as "Andy" - a party goer engaged in some seriously "deep" debate on Star Wars and drugs culture with Danny Dyer's character "Moff".
In 2000 Richard landed the two roles that would launch him into the limelight: "Jeff" in BBC2's inspired comedy series Coupling (2000) and "John Ridd" in the BBC's Christmas production of Lorna Doone (2000). Richard has trodden the boards in the West End, firstly at The Royal Court Theatre in Peter Gill's "The York Realist" and then alongside Gwyneth Paltrow in "Proof" at the Donmar Warehouse. Also "Don Carlos" in 2005 and "The Lover/The Collection" in 2008.